DIY web design is a perfect example of learning by doing. And I am a big believer in this approach to life. Not to sound too much like a self-help book I also believe that a mistake is an opportunity, not a failure.
That being said it is good to learn from other peoples mistakes too. So, if you are thinking of doing your own DIY web design here are the 3 top mistakes that freelancers and small businesses make.
Go for the cheapest option
The cheapest way to create a brand-new website is to use a platform, like “WIX”, which is free but your domain would not be independent e.g. www.yourname.wix.com
Your website doesn’t need to be the best one out there with all the whistles and bells but the worst thing you can do is this. There are many reasons why this is bad for you and your business – such as it will be very limited in what it can do for you and how you can make it look and how you can reach new people through google.
But most importantly it gives the impression that you are a hobbyist and not a professional.
2. Make it about themselves
The best websites are the ones that guide their customers or clients to do what you want them to do. The main way to do this is to make it about them and not about you.
Highlight what your clients’ main problem is and then tell them how you can solve it for them. Ideally, highlight three and keep referring to them throughout your content on your website.
Don’t just see your website as a C.V. or a portfolio of your work. Yes, often this is what you are using the website for but it isn’t what your visitors are using it for. Again, it needs to be about them. Put yourself into their shoes and map out the journey you want them to go on, starting from arriving on your homepage knowing nothing about you to your final goal e.g. filling in a contact form and becoming a client. In between those two points, what do you want them to know about you and feel about you.
Such as do you want them to trust you, if so you need to show them that you know what you are talking about, you have testimonials showing that others have trusted you and why and that you know how you can solve their problem.
3. Include everything – my pet DIY web design error!
Please don’t. Often this is because you are using a template and just working your way through each page, filling in the sections. If a section isn’t relevant, please delete it. The same goes with pages – just because others have a certain page doesn’t mean you must include one.
Including everything also can make a website too busy. Remember to retain some blank space – give your text and images some space to breathe.
Finally, make it easy to navigate with clear buttons, arrows and text to get around with an uncluttered navigation menu (between 5 and 7 items). You want your visitors to be able to find what they are looking for easily and quickly.
DIY web design is not easy but can be really fulfilling as well as the cheapest option. I am in awe of anyone attempting it for the first time so I really do wish you all the luck to make it a success!
If you are a freelancer or a small business and you have done one of these things and you are not sure how to fix it. Let me know and I’ll see if I can offer a bit of help.